Friday, November 12, 2010

A Love Story...



My marriage began with an elopement..
In the Sixties, twenty-one was the age to marry without parental consent in Canada. While I was of age, Michael had just turned twenty. From the beginning, our partnership was not treasured by either set of parents…in fact there was little common ground for either family to understand the other at all. My Irish emigrant parents were much too fond of whisky, and loved a loud, resounding fight…Michael’s parents had a glass of good wine with dinner and never, ever raised their voices.
.November 12th, 1968


My parents each had to leave school as young teenagers to help support their families in poverty-ravaged Belfast…Michael’s parents were university-educated professionals of some note. The chasm between our perspective realities grew ever wider as we got to know each other. When invited to Michael’s for a meal, I was flustered by the plethora of cutlery spread out before me, and struggled not to gag at the sight of bloody red meat floating on its fine china platter. When coming to my house for dinner, Michael did not immediately recognize the shriveled gray lump on his plate as roast beef, and seemed puzzled that it was served on TV trays in front of the hockey game. The two households were polar opposites in terms of culture, economics, social standing and stability.
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It was no real surprise then, when our announced plan to marry after dating for a year hit a hard wall of resistance. What started out as flat refusal grudgingly eased on my parents’ part when I rose above my normally timid nature and made it clear this was what I wanted, though dire warnings of certain regret were rained upon me night after night without fail. Michael’s parents held out longer, but finally, unhappily agreed to give their consent when it was clear we were going ahead. We planned a very small wedding, immediate family only as all my relatives were overseas, and my future in-laws did not see it as an occasion to celebrate. I bought a pretty white dress…we looked at apartments, and lined up a minister at our local Anglican church.
A week before the wedding was to take place, Michael’s mum and dad rescinded, protesting they could not in all conscience condone this farce of a marriage that would never last. They would not sign the consent forms after all.
.Africa , 2007, after a hot-air balloon ride over the Serengeti.

We were in love; we’d bought furniture, rented an apartment…we eloped, flying from Vancouver to Detroit to be married in the City Hall by a Justice of the Peace, because it was the only place we knew with a lower age restriction. It would be nice to say that things improved markedly after that, but such was not the case. It was a number of years before the bitterness between the families softened, and life took on some normalcy. It was definitely not an ideal way to start a marriage. Eventually, gaps were bridged, bonds were formed and our children could have both sets of grandparents in a room together, but a heavy price was paid to get to there…
That was forty-two years ago today, and if I had to, I would do it all again in a minute! I’m blessed to be married to my kind and funny best friend; a man who is truly one of the good guys, someone who consistently goes out of his way to help others and has the gentlest nature of anyone I know. Of course we’ve had our ups and downs as couples do, but not for a minute have I regretted tying my life to his.
For four decades, we have laughed and loved…lived a full life together with all the joy, sorrow and wonderment that building a family entails. It has been an amazing ride and I hope for many more years to share with him..
We staged a quick photo shoot the evening after returning from Detroit, so I might get to wear my little wedding dress at least once, and have pictures to remember the day. It is still a strange mix of emotions I experience when looking at these photos, our obvious delight in each other tempered by so many conflicting factors. But one can’t dwell on what might have been, and while ours is not a traditional love story with the fairy tale wedding and the happily-ever-after, we have made our own story and it is a good one.
You continue to be my hero, Michael. I admire your compassionate heart, your sense of justice and your ability to see what truly matters in the world…and it is no small thing that you still make me laugh more easily than anyone else I’ve ever met.

I will love you forever…
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21 comments:

Whimsey Creations said...

What a wonderful love story and don't you two look just as beautiful all these years later. With all the marriage that don't make it - it's wonderful and heart-warming to hear about yours. Big hugs and congratulations!

Kay L. Davies said...

You really did get the happily-ever-after, Lynette. Ups and downs are part of it.
I love your story and your "wedding pictures" - you were so sweet and pretty. No wonder Michael defied his parents when they rescinded. Detroit seems like such a long way to go. The friend I grew up with eloped to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in 1965, when she was 20. Anyway, you chose Detroit, and now look at the two of you, happy as can be.
I love your description of your husband, his compassionate heart and sense of justice... and, best of all, the ability to see what truly matters. How wonderful!
Congratulations to both of you on your 42nd anniversary, and many many more!
Luv, K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Susannah said...

Such a beautiful, beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with us all. :-)

Congratulations to you both. x

Lynn Richards said...

Oh, Lynette, you brought tears to my eyes.
what a wonderful post. I love the picture of the two of you. Many, many blessings to you both and best wishes for many happy more years together.
xo
lynn

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Lynette, this is such a wonderful post that I have tears in my eyes. Congratulations, you two! I'm so happy for you, and I hope you have many, many more wonderful years together. This is truly a love story!

XO,

Sheila :-)

adrielleroyale said...

What a beautiful story! And how refreshing to hear of a love that has lasted through the years and still persists! Happy Happy Anniversary, may you be continually blessed with many more years together! :)

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...

Dear Lynette,
I too am in tears after reading your story. Your is truly a real love story and I feel very privileged to share this story on your very special day.
Happy Anniversary Lynette and Michael.
Good luck and All Good Wishes for many more wonderful years together.
Eileen :)

Tete said...

That's a true love story. You don't need all the fluff and carriages to make it a fairy tale. Everything you have been to each other and the fact that you knew what you had and refused to listen to either set of parents says mountains about your love for each other. The kind that lasts forever.
My husband and I were married at the court house. I had him. That's all I wanted. I never wanted the white dress or the hundreds of people attending. It's just not important to me.
You got your fairy tale and I am glad the parents finally figured that out.
May you and Michael have many more years together.
Hugs- Tete

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a wonderful love story! And I have been privileged to have witnessed it since our two big tall sons were babies in their buggies. You and Michael are such a great match. I love the photos of you when you were young - I have never known you with red or short hair, you've been a long-haired gal since we first met. And the photo of you in Africa looks absolutely fabulous. I hadnt seen that one. Sigh. You two prove that I am right to still believe in love. I have had a bumpy ride on that particular wagon, but seeing you two sail companionably along all these years proves it CAN happen - I am so grateful and happy that it happened so for you. I, too, love Michael's heart. I was so impressed that when the three of us went to see the Dalai Lama, he took my single seat three rows back so you and I could enjoy the experience together - SUCH a kind man! You two have made a life and legacy for your kids that keeps a firm foundation under their feet. I think your family is the most loving I have ever come across. Happy Anniversary - and many many more. Decades more!

Debby said...

What a wonderful story of your love and marriage. We also got married young....19 and 20 and had to take both sets of parents to sign for the license. Our parents were so different byt accepting of our marriage. We have been married 40 years now.
Love the picture of the two of you on the Plain. You are a beautiful couple.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Congratulations, you two!

Kit said...

You have me in tears! What a lovely story. Why do parents have to meddle so much? You two knew it was right and your parents should have had more faith in what you were trying to have together. I am so glad you eloped and went for your dream. Congrats and may you have many many more years together. Kit

Cheryl said...

That is such a wonderful story, thank you so much for sharing it with us. I am so thrilled for you to be so happy after all these years and to be part of such a wonderful relationship makes you truly blessed. I picked a great day to drop by to let you know my url has changed. I hope you're still receiving my feeds if not I'm now at http://kangaroosofthescrubbybush.blogspot.com Merrilyn's new joey is a boy!

Katy Cameron said...

What a lovely tale, congrats on proving the parents wrong, and such a long and happy life together, may there be many more years together

Wild Somerset Child said...

True real-life love stories are the best, and all credit to you both for doing what you knew was right for each other. (Sorry, that sounds preachy and isn't meant to be). Congratulations and here's wishing you many more years of happiness together. Ann.

Bonnie said...

Special photographs. Beautiful story. Wish you many more happy anniversaries.

Theresa said...

Now that is love... thank you for sharing your story of strength in love. Theresa xoxo

vicki said...

What a wonderful story - so beautifully told! Congratulations on your success in life and love - thank you for sharing this inspiring story with us - true love - you are very blessed!

Thank you for visiting me - and for being one of my faithful bloggers. You mean the world to me~~

vicki

R.S. Mallari (SpK) said...

Wow, really truth is sometimes fancier than fiction. I hope my marriage will work as such. Keep it together will you? Your love story is a great inspiration.

gospelwriter said...

A wonderful and heartwarming story. Wow! I know the anniversary date has passed, but I wish you a happy anniversary anyway, and many more years together.

Olive Cooper said...

I was out of town over the weekend and missed this post. I am so glad to see the current photo of you. Congrats on all these years and may you have many many more!